Reiterating the Problem with Flemish Revolution through a Comparison (and Proposed Compromise/Solution)

Okay, so it’s been months since this mechanic has been in the game, it’s been months with Burgundians being both an insanely weak and insanely strong civ, and it’s been months that this tech has been unchanged (save some minor stat changes on the unit itself). I find it shocking how little the tech has changed considering the vast unpopularity at pro and semi-competitive levels, so I’m here to make yet another case for why it should be reworked and simple stat/cost changes won’t fix the most pressing issues surrounding the tech.

The tech, in essence, deletes all your villagers and gives you the same amount of two handed swordsmen with a bonus vs cavalry at the press of a button. A good comparison unit would therefore be a Viking two-handed swordsman. If you’re not interested in reading about my comparison and don’t need convincing that the tech needs to be reworked, go to the dashed line in this post for my proposed replacement tech and compromise. Here is a stat comparison of the two units:

Viking two-handed swordsman:

HP: 72

Attack: 12 melee

Armour: 0 melee 1 pierce

Speed: 0.9

Cost: 60 food (45 after supplies) 20 gold

Bonus vs cavalry (after chieftains is researched): +5

Upgrade cost: 100f 40g (man at arms) + 200f 65g (longswordsman) + 150f 100g (supplies) + 300f 100g (two handed swordsman) + 700f 500g (chieftains) = 1450f 805g

Burgundian Flemish Militia:

HP: 75

Attack: 12

Armour: 1 melee 1 pierce

Speed: 0.9

Cost: N/A in most scenarios

Bonus vs cavalry: +8

Flemish Revolution cost: 800f 450g

Of course, any stat comparison has to be made with the caveat that flemish militia have considerably less flexibility in terms of when you can create them and how much of your eco you can retain. You can only unlock the unit after going to 0 vill count, which sucks for players who want a quick infantry unit out but don’t want to suicide their entire eco. Viking players can choose more precisely how many two-handed swordsman to create and how much economy to have behind it. This is one issue the tech suffers from.

With that in mind, the tech still delivers an insane amount of value. Not only because the upgrade costs are almost half for Flemish Revolution compared to getting Viking two handed swordsmen, but also because there is no cost difference in having an army of 60 or 120 flemish militia, while the same army would still cost twice as much for a Viking player deleting their vills and replacing the mwith two handed swordsmen. There’s not really a unit cost, since in the vast majority of cases players just click the button and get their army, not really training any extra militia from their town centers.

Of course, there is the opportunity cost of deleting more villagers which could have contributed more to the Burgundian player’s economy, but in this comparison both players pay that cost, but the Viking player still has to pay an extra 45 food and 20 gold per two handed swordsman. That’s where the main problem with this tech lies; the fact the effect size can be so drastically different depending on your number of villagers but the cost still remains the same.

There are additional problems, with the second most important being how impossible it is to prepare for when playing against it. A Viking player deleting their vills and getting two handed swordsmen out still needs to add a whole bunch of barracks, wait and get the upgrades for their two handed swordsmen, and slowly amass an army of infantry. the better a job they do at hiding that transition, the more rewarding and unexpected it will be for the opponent. But, if the opponent is on top of their scouting and notices the extra barracks or units being massed, they have time to invest into a counter unit of their own. In the end, the player who did the better job hiding their transition and adjusting their army composition will win, which just makes strategic sense.

With Flemish Revolution, it’s all instant. There’s no waiting to get non-blacksmith upgrades, no adding extra barracks, no slow buildup of forces, no eco adjustment even. All of that is accomplished for you at the click of a button. If someone is against Burgundians, as I have found myself in many a time and have caught my opponent in many a time as well, the only indication they might have that the Burgundian player is planning on going flemish revolution is just by noticing they’re making more villagers than they should, which is insanely difficult to do. The timeframe for them to invest in the counter unit, be it siege or archers or hand cannons or defenses or whatever, and mass them up is only a couple seconds from when the tech finishes researching to when I finish right clicking all of my extra military units to their base.

So for all of the above reasons, and many more that if someone wishes to know about I’ll gladly let them know of, this tech is horrendously designed and should not stay in this game.

My proposed solution and compromise:

Obviously, no one’s going to agree with anyone else’s proposed “fixes” to this tech. Everyone’s got their own ideas for what this game and especially this tech should look like. The playerbase variety is a strength of this game and should be respected. I understand there are more casual players who absolutely love the sight of their former villagers storming an enemy base and tearing up their town. However, the players who use this tech in casual games should also understand the frustration more competitive players feel when they’re up against this tech. I think my proposed change is a good compromise for both types of players, and that it will fix the major issues of scalability, flexibility and surprise of the tech while preserving the charm it has for more casual game settings.

Instead of upgrading all your villagers to flemish revolution instantly, the tech should unlock the ability for the player to upgrade villagers to flemish militia at a set cost per villager, and unlock the ability to train these units at town centers like it already does. Let’s say this cost were 10 gold per villager. What value would this tech have, and how would it change the way casual and competitive players play?

First, it is still 100% possible for any player to convert their entire villager population to flemish militia. Now, though, it is a little more time consuming, less instant, and more costly to do so. Most importantly, it costs more to have an army of 120 flemish militia instead of 60 flemish militia, and solves the scaling problem of the tech. 120 militia costs 600 more gold to get out than 60 militia, as opposed to the 0 resources it costs at the moment. for more casual players, the 600 gold and extra steps doesn’t matter as much. For more competitive players, this extra hurdle is huge.

Second, it gives much more flexibility in how this tech can be used. You don’t just use it for an all-in, game-ending push against the opponent now. A section of your base is being raided by enemy cavalry and you want to clean up that cavalry and plug the hole in your wall? Upgrade 10 villagers to flemish militia and use some other villagers to plug the hole. It’s now an anti-raiding tech as well. Sent some villagers to build a forward castle or buildings and don’t know what to do with them? Upgrade them to flemish militia and use them in the fight instead of sending them back. Need a quick anti-cavalry unit and need to buy time before you tech into halberdiers? upgrade some villagers to flemish militia and buy yourself that time.

Third, it’s easier to balance the tech this way if it is problematic in the future. You have three parameters to balance now: the unit’s stats, the cost of the tech, and the cost of upgrading each villager. If the tech’s effect kicks in too early, you can change the cost of the tech. If the unit is too strong itself, you can change the stats. If the unit is too easy to mass, you can change the cost of the upgrade. Right now there is no way to balance how easy the unit is to mass, or how the army cost scales with its size. This change puts a stop to that.

Feel free to offer your two cents about the tech as it stands, whether you would change it, what you like or dislike about it, and whether my proposed change is a net positive or a net negative.

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I’d be careful viewing it as “deleting your villagers and building new units”. I tried to use this analogy but inevitably I ran into the problem that if you view Flemish revolution as deleting and making new units you’d have to view military upgrades as deleting the old units and making new ones. Since this is kind of silly I found that this line of reasoning didn’t really pan out.

So the argument has to rest on what is the difference between upgrading villagers into military units and upgrading military units into even stronger military units of the same unit line? I made a longer post here in the Co-op/balane changes thread but the gist is:

  • Villagers cost much less than flemish militia which means you’re effectively loaning players resources depending on the number of villagers upgraded in it’s current implementation. The “cost” of the loan is really only losing the number of villagers which optimally balances current military strength with future military strength. E.g. if 50 vils 150 military were optimal the cost of the loan would only be the 50 villagers in lost production. That is you can think of it as getting a discount in exchange for losing (50 vills worth) future income, which is exactly what a loan is. You don’t care about villagers in excess of 50 because you would have converted them anyway (in this hypothetical where 50 is optimal).
  • These type of dynamics can be balanced only if other players can obtain similar free or loaned resources (e.g. AoE3 home cards, AoM god powers). Since AoE2 doesn’t have this its not going to be balanced.

Anyway your solution has a similar problem. It lets players skip straight to the optimal number of villagers meaning the downside is mostly eliminated. So it’s no longer a loan it’s just a free discount if it’s less than 10f, 25g per villager to upgrade. So you’d have to charge the full marginal cost + the fixed cost of the upgrade to make it match the behavior of any other military upgrade in the game.

Even after all of this there is still the issue of flexibility having value. Think of converting any unit in the game to another unit line and whether the marginal cost would be appropriate. I’m pretty sure you’ll find it’s too low a cost for the flexibility.

What need a nerf is their insane eco more than anything.

Mucho texto

Make a summary or a synthesized version of this testament, and maybe players and devs might read it